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Coming after Houses, in which the buildings occupy the whole of the canvas, Landscape marks a turning point in Soutine’s work by opening up perspective and space. The theme, as in Houses, is characterised by his tormented, distorted representation of the buildings, which can only be identified as such by their roofs and windows. But these are now surrounded by a tree-filled landscape and dominated by a blue sky. The landscape, far from bringing an element of calm to the painting, seems to contribute to the distortions of the houses through a powerful expressive movement. We also see the appearance of the tree as protector, the motif from Soutine’s childhood spent in a forest region where the tree was celebrated in various traditional rites. The palette has become significantly lighter in this painting, influenced by the light of the Midi, while the houses with their light stonework and tiled roofs were inspired by the architecture of the town of Cagnes, where the painter was staying. Chaïm Soutine produced over two hundred canvases in this tormented style, between 1919 and 1922, many of which he subsequently destroyed.

Provenance: Paul Guillaume; Domenica Walter